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SNOB film fest features Concord man’s fourth work

  • A scene from "The Second Life," directed by Pedro Pimentel of Concord. —Courtesy of Manguetown Pictures

  • A scene from "The Second Life," directed by Pedro Pimentel of Concord. —Courtesy of Manguetown Pictures

  • A scene from "The Second Life," directed by Pedro Pimentel of Concord. —Courtesy of Manguetown Pictures

  • A scene from “The Second Life,” directed by Pedro Pimentel of Concord. Courtesy of Manguetown Pictures



Monitor staff
Wednesday, November 08, 2017

The Somewhat North of Boston (SNOB) Film Festival returns to Concord on Thursday with four days of short and feature films created in the Granite State and beyond.

Red River Theatres will host the screenings, plus panel discussions with the filmmakers, in sets organized by genre and topic.

Craft brews and live music will again be part of the agenda, at various locations in the state, such as an open-mic night at Great North Aleworks in Manchester on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. You can also taste a special SNOB burger at the Barley House or burrito at Dos Amigos in Concord.

There’s a little something for everyone in the film line-up: shorts and feature-length movies, narratives and documentaries, local directors and international artists.

Ticket cost vary depending on what you want to see or if you want multi-day passes. Visit SNOB’s website for details.

The Room is one of seven films in the feature narrative category.

The cult classic, “worst film ever made” by Tommy Wiseau, will be shown Saturday night at 9 p.m. Audience members will be provided spoons; do not bring your own. If you don’t know what that means, come to the screening to find out.

In the short documentary category, audiences will have another chance to view Dan Habib’s Mr. Connolly Has ALS, which was shown earlier this year at Red River. All four documentary shorts in this year’s schedule were created by New Hampshire filmmakers. The two feature-length documentaries are just the opposite, both with out-of-state directors.

Short narrative films make up the bulk of the offerings with more than 30 works.

Concord filmmaker Pedro Pimentel will screen his fourth short film, The Second Life, at the festival. That movie also premiered at Red River Theatres in the spring.

Pimentel shared a little background on his latest work and his SNOB experiences.

Can you tell me a little about what “The Second Life” is about?

The Second Life is a short film based on a tale by the Brazilian writer Machado de Assis. It was published in 1884, and it narrates the story of Joseph Maria, a man who visited the local bishop to tell the tale of his past incarnations. How he, before coming back to the Earth, decided to be born as a very experienced man, in order to be able to enjoy all aspects of life from a very early age. The consequences of tremendous “experience” made him a fearful man, focusing on the negative consequences of every decision he makes. The film is my longest yet, running at about 37 minutes. Very challenging production, featuring multiple locations, bigger cast and very detailed props, costumes and other period aspects.

Where did you get the inspiration for this film?

The inspiration came after reading the tale for the first time. I was searching on the internet, at around 3 in the morning, for short stories by famous writers I always kind of overlooked.

Originally, I was to chose between two tales by him. One was “Adam and Eve” and the other was “The Second Life.” The reason why I decided to go with “The Second Life” was because I realized I could bring a lot more detail into the piece.

The original tale is almost like a one-act play, featuring only Joseph Maria and Monsignor Caldas talking to each other. So I thought: What if I could make the audience not only see the two men talking, but also go into flashback to his past lives, and see what it was like then?

That’s what I did, and that thought that I could make the story more detailed than it was on paper is what made me choose it.

“The Second Life” is your biggest project yet; in what ways was it more involved?

Most of my movies, if not all of them, only took place in one location, featuring the same cast, and was about a single event.

The Second Life not only breaks that pattern, for it features a cast of nearly 20 people, it also features multiple locations, with scenes happening at different times and with different people.

This was also the first time that I made a movie with more professional equipment. Many lights, big camera, bigger crew, more detailed production design, and costumes. Change in hair, make up, and also featuring more “cinematic” sequences that were quite challenging to pull off.

How do you go about selecting actors, crew and locations?

We held auditions at Red River Theatres, and that’s how most of the cast was chosen.

Casting William Galatis, who plays Joseph Maria, was a bit different. I happened to find him on an acting website, and thought he looked just the part. After getting a few video auditions from him, and talking a bit on the internet, I came to the conclusion that he was not only the right person for the role, but also we shared similar creative interests, which played a huge role in the making of the entire movie.

Craig Capone and Michael Coppola starred in my last film, The Priest, and their work was so incredibly amazing that I contacted them and asked if they would be interested in working on another project together.

For my crew, I met with Jonathan Geddis and Jonathan Olson after talking on Facebook about being cinematographers for the movie, and they were thrilled to be a part of the project. They joined in, and also brought people they knew to our team to help out with the production.

Locations was a bit challenging. It had to meet a certain criteria: Does it look good? Can we film there? Is it easily accessible? Will we have the tools that we need? We shot in over five locations, including Kimball Jenkins Estate in Concord, Madame Sherri Castle Ruins in Chesterfield, Olson Studios in New Hampton, Coggeshall Farm Museum in Rhode Island and more. We did a few trips to some of the locations with our equipment to do test shoots, and basically fell in love with all of them.

How have things been going since your premiere this spring?

We’re still in our festival circuit, which to us it can be a little bit challenging mainly because of the length of the movie, which is quite long for most festivals to feature.

We were awarded with the “Best Short Film” award in August by the London Independent Film Awards, and screened in a few other festivals.

The movie was featured on FilmShortage, which is a short-film platform on the internet that selected a short film a day from all of the world. It was my first time being featured there after multiple attempts.

We also just recently released the original soundtrack on CD and made it available on our website. And I can say that Manguetown Pictures is sort of ... brainstorming some future projects.

How many times have you attended the SNOB festival?

This is my fourth year at SNOB, which I attend every year since my first submission while in high school.

What advice do you have students interested in following your footsteps?

Grab a camera, make a movie. And try to challenge yourself with every project, trying out different techniques, not just camera techniques but also story telling techniques, staging, lighting, editing, music choice. The great thing about filmmaking is that you have zero limitations. If you can think it, you can film it.

What do you hope people take away from your film?

I wanted to bring not only a different perspective on reincarnation to the audience, but also a little bit of the Golden Era charm that movies kind of lack nowadays.

The slow scenes, the melodrama, the hidden meanings in the sentences, the costume changes, the staging and the props.

What fascinated me about the story was the interconnections our souls may have, the ties that connect our past with our present and our future. And also ... to be easy on themselves. Don’t wish that you knew everything from an early age like Joseph Maria did. Just wish that you will never stop learning something new every day.

For more information on any of the festival’s events, visit snobfilmfestival.com.